I just love that time of year when fresh herbs are ready to eat. I pine away all winter for basil pesto especially. If you grow lots of basil, you can always double your batch and freeze some pesto, but honestly, in our house that usually involves a little white lie of the “nope, it’s all gone” variety.
A large leaf variety of basil is good to use. Genovese or Large Leaf are good varieties, but for flavor variance you can try adding lemon, thai, cinnamon or other basils. Basil is a very tender annual, and loves sun. Grow it in a nice hot spot in your garden, or in containers, but make sure to keep it watered.
Pesto is ridiculously easy to make, and tastes so much better than any storebought I have ever found. I like mine really garlicy, so I always use lots. I also substitute raw almonds for the usual pine nuts, as they have gotten so expensive. Here’s the recipe I use:
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup raw almonds
2 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 – 6 cloves garlic (remember, I love the garlic, so if you aren’t so gung ho, try 2 to start)
1/4 tsp salt (to taste)
1/8 tsp pepper (to taste)
2 cups fresh basil leaves
Yield: approximately 2-1/2 cups pesto
Throw it all in a blender and blend until smooth. Depending on the size of your blender, you should be able to easily double this recipe in one batch. Store in a glass jar in the fridge and enjoy!